Friday, August 10, 2007

A Continuation From Yesterday- Anxiety and Public RestRooms

Okay, I thought I’d give another example of simple pervasive anxiety and how I have to walk myself through it.

Public Bathrooms.

That’s right- public bathrooms. Every time I go in I check the door, make sure it says ‘women,’ and then for some weird reason once I’m actually in the bathroom think I went in the wrong one.

Of course this is ridiculous, especially at work when the men’s bathroom is down the hallway about half a block. But the minute the door opens I think I entered the wrong one and will get in trouble.

So I have to think: Okay, you checked the door twice, yes? You hear the copier; the copier is outside the women’s room. This is the ladies room. There were no urinals when you entered- this means it’s not the men’s room. And if it was? So what? You are in a stall, they can’t see you; you can’t see them. Everyone goes to the bathroom.

These thoughts get worse at school, as the men’s and women’s room are right next to each other, but again, there are no urinals when I enter so why the thought that I entered the wrong room? And more importantly, what does it really matter?

It’s funny to me because in life I have purposely gone into the men’s room many times, such as at plays and in restaurants when the woman’s line is too long. Nothing happens. Once, one guy was a bit off –put but then laughed it off. (I do make sure the room is empty by asking a man who comes out, and a friend usually watches the door, or a manager). So what harm is there? Heck, I’ve even had to cover a friend once when both lines were so long she went around back to the bushes. Nothing bad happened (though I suppose that time what she was doing WAS illegal) so why the anxiety?

The simple answer in my mind is that when that stress or whatever hits it tries to find a way to completely undermine myself and take away my self-control. Depending upon how self-confident I am, I might worry until I see some feminine shoes walk by, though I’m stopping myself faster now as the CBT comes in – the main thing being, I already checked the sign twice, I know the area, and in the end if I’m in the wrong bathroom who really cares?

It just annoys me at times that these thoughts creep in and can be so pervasive about such stupid little things.

Picture taken by Stefan Kühn from


~Deb said...

A man walked into the women's bathroom at my place of work once. The hens of the office screamed bloody murder. I walked out of my stall and said, "Big deal."

Now, some places have unisex bathrooms.

Baffles me.

I think the people who get so uptight need to practice CBT more than you and I should!

Jessica Weisenfels said...

I think...maybe...that going into the men's room on accident (especially in a familiar place, like work) could make a hum-drum day very exciting.

That way when someone asks you later "What did you do today?"

You could reply,
"I used the Men's room on accident, and what did you do today?"

dawn said...

I'm glad that you found this technique and it's working for you. So as you can see its raining again and I'm wondering how long it's going to take for the subways to flood. Have a great weekend

Azhira said...


I know how that goes. When I was pregnant, I had this weird obsession with not wanting to wear maternity clothes. Felt like I didn't 'deserve' them or that it would somehow 'undo' the pregnancy. Or that, maybe, I wasn't really pregnant at all.

Which made no sense, since I was obviously getting bigger, I had already seen the ultrasound, heard the heartbeat, etc. It about drove me crazy. :) But I had outgrown my normal clothes, so I'd suck it up and wear the cute maternity stuff and remind myself I was being silly.

I wish I knew where my anxiety comes from. It pops up in the weirdest places... ;)

Victorya said...

Deb - that's the thing, I know should it happen there'd be no big deal. I have no problems with unisex bathrooms. Okay, maybe this one bathroom I read about that is unisex with plexiglass stalls. That I'd have a problem with, but other than that I'm fine.

Jessica - wouldn't that be nice? lol, add a little excitment to the day. If I walk in by mistake one day, maybe I can pretend to be an attendant and ask a guy if he needs something held :)

Dawn- I took the day off. No way was I dealing with the subways again. I hope your commute goes well, and not, er, swimmingly

azhira - I just think minds are weird and get such fascinations. I don't know where it comes from either.

cherished79 said...

I do this too with the ladies washroom, but then I check everything too many times anyways. The problem is that I have walked into the mens by mistake and walked out just as red faced as the man I caught facing the urinal. So now you can see my dismay at having to use public toilets.

david mcmahon said...

It's all about pees and queues ....

Amel's Realm said...

Ahhhh...I'm glad this CBT's helping you a lot, Vic.

Just take it one day at a time and don't be too hard on yourself, OK?

Speaking of toilets...when I was still at the uni, I was thinking of something else while walking towards the toilet area (the men's room and the women's room were side by side) and for some reason I walked inside the men's room instead. Gladly nobody was there, but my heart was pitter-patter when I got out. PHEW!!!

Tammy Duplessie said...

I accidentally walked into the boys locker room in Jr High. I was so embarrassed.

Victorya said...

Tammy - yeah, people do do this, no? But then, embarassment ends at some point.

David - that one got a chuckle and a groan.

Cherished/Amel - I so understand. And I turn red so quickly too.